Part of the joy of the holiday season is exploring holiday lights with the kids. They’re bright and festive, and just inspire imagination and awe. Especially in young children, going hunting for lights is a time-honored holiday tradition. Unfortunately, more and more people are not decorating their homes with lights. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still great light displays out there to be found and enjoyed. Here are a few of my favorite holiday lights hot spots.
23620 ne 183RD St. Woodinville, WA 98072
A family oriented display awaits you in Woodinville! Here you’ll find a full acre display of lights set to music and light animations. The display is free to visit, but cash donations are appreciated. The donations benefit a variety of charities. To get the most out of the experience, tune your radio to 101.9 FM.
16504 112th PL NE Bothell, WA 98011
Another home with a ton of lights can be found in Bothell. Keener Christmas is a drive-through experience with no foot traffic allowed. You’ll find more than half a million lights as well as animations and inflatables. This family favorite home has been featured in many newscasts about the best-decorated homes in Western Washington. From time to time you’ll even find Santa on site handing out candy canes! If you’re so moved, you can also donate food to charity at the site!
Bellevue Botanical Gardens
12001 Main St. Bellevue, WA 98005
Get lost as you wander through the fields of flower-themed lights at Bellevue’s annual Garden d’Lites festival. Now in its 24th year, the tradition of nature-themed light shows is a must for many people during the holiday season. You’ll also find a running river made of lights. The Gardens set up a scavenger hunt among the lights to keep young people excited, and there is always espresso and hot cocoa on site, too. There is a small admission fee, but there are also free nights every season as well. Check the website before heading out so that you can plan! Remember – kids ten and under are free!
19525 SE 54th St Issaquah, WA 98027
For something just a little different, head out to Issaquah and the Cougar Mountain Zoo! Here you’ll find a full Christmas themed park, culminating with live reindeer! The 31st annual Reindeer festival keeps limited hours, open only until 4:30 pm, but is nothing short of pure wonder for your children. Since the reindeer are on site, of course, you can expect to see Santa! You can also hear a story from an elf during your visit!
For more homes with amazing lights, check out this interactive map!
If you’re up for a drive, there are plenty of lights in Seattle, too. You can visit the Woodland Park Zoo for their annual Wild Lights show, or check out the Candy Cane Lane neighborhood! Whatever you do, be sure to take lots of photos and share them with me! And, if you know of a hot spot that I’ve missed, I really want to hear about it!
If you haven’t gotten your tree already — and you are feeling adventurous — here are some places you can cut your own tree down. Close to home even!
We live in the Christmas tree capital of the United States, it’s easy to see why so many people enjoy cutting their own tree. But, given the traffic situation in the Seattle & Eastside areas, it’s also easy to understand why you might want to cut a tree close to home. While there may not be any Christmas tree farms in Seattle, Kirkland or Bellevue, you can find a couple in Redmond and a few more just outside of the central Eastside. Now go find your perfect tree!
13925 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE Redmond, WA 98052
Open daily from 10 am to 8 pm, McMurtrey’s makes it simple to plan a tree cutting trip with your family. Found in the heart of the Sammamish Valley, you’ll find Noble, Grand, and Fraser Firs on the property. Extra tall trees are on site, and delivery is even an option, in case you don’t have a large enough vehicle to tow the tree back to your home. The farm is dedicated to sustainable harvesting, meaning that once a certain number of trees have been cut they’ll close the season. So get out there early! Once you’ve found the perfect tree, the farm treats you with complimentary hot cider or hot chocolate.
14500 NE 116th St. Redmond, WA 98052
Offering 100% organic trees as well as home delivery service, Buttonwood Farm is another close-by option for creating a family tradition of cutting your own tree. Here you’ll find Douglas, Turkish, Nordman, Noble, Grand, Fraser, and Blue Spruce trees. The site also offers sturdy stands. The farm has limited hours, however. If this is where you want to cut, be sure to visit on the weekends. Buttonwood is open Friday and Sunday from noon until 4 pm, and on Saturdays from 10am-4pm. You should check out their website before heading out to find tips for tree care as well as fun seasonal recipes.
3861 Tolt Ave Carnation, WA 98014
Open from the day after Thanksgiving until trees sell out, the Carnation tree farm has been offering trees for over 30 years. The farm has been in the family since 1901 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. That means you’ll be taking a step back in time as you step into the forest to play your part in this time-honored family tradition. Across 16 acres you’ll find Douglas, Fraser, Grand, Noble, and Nordman Firs as well as Norway and Blue Spruce. In addition to cutting your own tree, you can pick up handmade local greens, garland, swags, mistletoe, and holly. Employees will let you borrow a saw and even help you select your perfect tree. With a focus on family fun, expect to spend some time in the shelter area where you can have complimentary cider, shop a fresh bake sale, or even have your photo taken with Santa. The shop is open Sunday- Thursday from 9 am until 4 pm.
Where did you get your tree this year!